By Sam Conner
The Winslow High School Bulldogs will open defense of their 3A North (Enchantment) Region regular season championship on Friday at Emil Nasser Stadium when they entertain the Window Rock Scouts. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.
Winslow finished the 2001 campaign 7-0 in the region and 7-3 for the season. A post-season loss to Ganado, a team they had beaten soundly in the regular campaign, left a sour taste in the mouths of most of the Bulldogs and their fans. The tragic death of a player in an automobile accident and a key injury played significant roles in the 20-9 upset lost to the Hornets.
The Bulldogs pounded Window Rock 50-6 at Window Rock during the 2001 season. The Scouts finished the year with a 2-5 record in the region and a 2-7 mark for the year.
Winslow coach Matt Gracey cites an involved and dedicated coaching staff as a major reason he believes the Bulldogs will be even better this season and could challenge for the state title. B. J. Little, Arlen Rogers, Justin Hartman, Darrell Padilla, Steve Sartain and Chris Gilmore have all been involved with camps and passing leagues during the summer and are working with the team to prepare for opening day.
Senior quarterback Steven Martinez gives the Bulldogs one of the finer offensive players in the state. He has an able back-up signal caller in junior Jeremiah Johnson and a host of fine receivers. That list includes Johnson, Orlando Vargas, Carlos Quesada, Mark Spencer, Shimeon Mattox and Charles Gover. Freshmen Jordan Payne and Dick Anderson may also see action at the receiver spot.
Nolan Horn will likely be the primary running back with Vargas and Warren Prosser likely to see considerable action.
The big men in the trenches probably are the real strength of the Bulldogs and may hold the key to victory. Brian and Brandon Mitchell, Brandon Guzman, Herschel Clark, John Sullivan and Adam Reeves should give Winslow a strong line on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Brian Mitchell was the 3A North Defensive Player of the Year last season and should be even better this year.
T. J. Koonce will be a force on defense at linebacker along with Mitchell. Jordan Payne could see action on defense as well. Most of the receivers will also see duty as defensive backs, just as many of the linemen will play both ways.
The Bulldogs participated in a controlled scrimmage at Camp Verde on Aug. 30.
The Winslow freshman and junior varsity teams will actually precede the varsity into action. The freshmen will play the Round Valley High School freshmen at Eagar at 5 p.m. in Eagar. The junior varsity will meet the Window Rock junior varsity at Window
Rock with kick-off also slated for 5 p.m.
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